Rosemary Sorensen April 30, 2009
Article from: The Australian
PENGUIN Australia has signed up Peter Carey, (pic left, The Times), luring Australia's most decorated writer away from his former publisher, Random House.
Carey will in November publish what Penguin is calling a "massively exciting" book, and a return to the "high energy" of his early novels.
"Without blowing our own trumpet," the publisher of Penguin's Hamish Hamilton list, Ben Ball, said yesterday, "Peter has said he can see something good happening here, and he's a huge admirer of writers like Chloe Hooper and Nam Le, who are published in the Hamish Hamilton list.
"It's not a totally exclusive list, but we're very choosey about who we publish on it. There are less than 10 authors on it (including Tim Winton and Robert Drewe), so it's hugely important for that list to have Carey added to it," Ball said.
"That is not hugely calculated," Ball said, "but we do see it as an opportunity to publish our most garlanded writer here first."
Ball said the new novel, set in the US in the 19th century, is about the birth of modern America. "A little bit of it is set in Australia," Ball said, "but all Carey's books, in some sense, are about Australia and the possibility of the new world."
UQP continued to publish Carey novels in Australia such as Jack Maggs (1997) and his 2001 Man Booker Prize-winner, True History of the Kelly Gang, even when he became an international success and the rights to his books were sold to Faber in Britain and Knopf in the US.
When Carol Davidson, who was publicity director and then publisher at UQP, became sales and international publishing director at Random House Australia in 2003, Carey went with her.
Random House Australia published My Life as a Fake in 2003, Theft in 2006, and His Illegal Self last year.
Davidson left her position with Random House last year, and returned to Brisbane.